In a video conference call earlier this month, Republican activists from across the state discussed ways to challenge Colorado primary election results by blocking their certification, while criticizing the state Republican Party leaders and candidates whom they deem to be “establishment” or Republicans in name only (RINOs).
The activists’ chief complaint is summarized in the tag line used in the posting of the recorded conference call on Rumble, a conservative social media platform, which reads, “Colorado’s ‘Gold Standard’ elections haven’t been certifiable for a decade or more, and the broken GOP hasn’t corrected the problem.”
The conference call was led by former Boulder County GOP chairwoman, Peg Cage, a central figure in last year’s attempt by grassroots activist Republicans to convince the state GOP to opt out of Colorado’s open primaries. Cage is also an administrator for the activist website mycoloradogop.com.
Over 30 other participants joined Cage on the call, including embattled Mesa County clerk and former candidate for Colorado Secretary of State Tina Peters, CO GOP Secretary Marilyn Harris, North Jefferson County Tea Party President Jimi McFarland, failed candidate and organizer of America First Republicans Nancy Pallozzi, a smattering of election judges and precinct people from various Colorado counties, as well as a former candidate for Senate District 9 who presumably lost her primary race, Lynda Zamora Wilson.
Cage characterized her group of activists, saying, “You can just think of us as the grassroots, law-abiding, platform-loving, America First, true Republican Patriots and we’re trying to keep the Republic. … … If you ever looked at the national platform, our principles are exactly the things that Donald Trump tried to stand up for.”
Rival RINO or establishment Republicans were described as moderates who “go along to get along” and are unprincipled.
Peters pointed out that presumptive GOP primary winners were unsuccessful in the caucus and assembly processes, and others on the call said they “bought their way” onto the ballot.
“Did you notice that the ones that won petitioned on?” Peters asked. “It’s like, the fix is in. They didn’t have to do anything.”
Casting doubt on the legitimacy of the current state Republican leadership, Cage said, “I won’t pretend that the [state central committee] elections are honest at that level, either. I know that there has been cheating at that level. I think [2019 grassroots contender for State GOP chairperson] Susan Beckman was elected, and we have proof of that.
Cage also derided current CO GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown, who was referred to as “KBB” on the call, charging her with authoritarian tendencies and a lack of transparency.
“I’m not a big fan of KBB,” Cage said. “She dissolved 107 of the organizations illegally, and forcefully removed 308 or so elected county officials in that re-organizational thing that was not supposed to happen. … In an honest election, we would have grassroots chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary, and we would be running the party.
Marilyn Harris, secretary of the state party and listed as a participant in the conference call, did not respond to Cage’s remarks.
“Because the Republican party has failed to get Republicans elected per our values,” Cage continued, “we are now subject to tyrants, and they have taken over our elections. … We can’t get behind the Rs that we had foisted on us in this [primary] election. It was fraudulent again. … I appreciate you guys standing with us and learning that this is not KBB’s party. This is not a top-down thing, although they would love for us to believe that. We are not subject to the elections. We are actually in control of the elections. Which I hope to prove to you tonight.”
During the call, Cage suggested ways that activists could challenge the veracity and legitimacy of election results, principally by canvass boards and county chairs denying certification at the county level by attacking Colorado’s election processes which include all mail-in ballots.
She also suggested ways of influencing the appointment of canvass board members and precinct committee persons.
Citing her own experience in Boulder, Cage says mail-in ballots violate requirements for private, intimidation-free voting, and don’t allow for properly authenticating the identities of voters.
“In 4 years,” Cage said, “I’ve sent out the same type information to county chairmen and the canvas board members, and told them, ‘Listen, you don’t have to certify this election. And you probably shouldn’t because you can’t tell who voted.’ I’m hoping that we can use the information that I’m giving you to not certify enough elections that we’ll be able to–.”
Cage did not finish her thought because her husband entered the room and interrupted her comments.
“The Canvass Board is the last step to a election process,” continued Cage. “The last day to do that is July 20. So, our election is not done right now. And I am trying to encourage all county parties and all county chairmen, and any friendly county clerks, ‘Don’t certify! Cause a problem! Make them prove that we had an honest election!’ I don’t know how else to do it. I know that there’s other lawsuits and stuff happening, but I think we need to hit them and hit ‘em and hit ‘em because we’re going to continue having these terrible elections if we keep certifying them and saying, ‘Oh, yeah, it doesn’t matter.’ You can’t see who voted. It doesn’t matter who voted, just who counts the votes.”
Tina Peters, currently charged with election tampering in a district court indictment on 7 felony counts, entered the call an hour in, with other participants giddily celebrating her appearance.
“Well, I’ll tell you, you’re doing a great job explaining about not certifying,” said Peters. “I think it’s a great idea. I don’t think that the canvass boards should certify this election. Right now, — and I can’t talk too much about it – I’m working on something that is going to make a difference. So, don’t anyone give up hope, keep fighting. We’re going to go after this beast, still. What I can tell you is that – you know, right now I’m reading HAVA (Help America Vote Act). …And HAVA mandates that the EAC (US Election Assistance Commission) test and certify voting equipment. We know that this voting equipment is not tested or certified. We also know that what happened in my race was the same thing that happened in the 2020 and the 2021 race. They front-load the ballots. … So, the way they’re doing this is very sophisticated. Now, a lot of people might not know, … that in Garfield county,– are you familiar what happened in Garfield County? But it shows that 900 votes went from Pam Anderson to me, which would have been a good thing except for it was fraudulent. And within about 24 hours they transferred them back to Pam. But the thing to note about that is that this happened at about 11:30 at night. The clerks went home at 10 pm that night. So, there’s a lot going on right now. We’re looking on information to show that basically it was inverted. The Colorado GOP had a poll which they won’t release to us that showed that I was 47% in the poll. I won every straw poll that I was at. Of course, I took 62% at the assembly. I raised more than all my opponents combined. Pam Anderson is part of the organization that funneled $470 million to counties that Biden won. So, go figure! But anyway, keep the faith, everybody!”
According to election results released so far, Peters lost her race with only 29% of the GOP primary vote, losing to Pam Anderson who won with 43%. Hanks lost to the presumed nominee Joe O’Dea, 46% to 54%.
Peters then revealed her intention to demand a recount of her race results from Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold and encouraged other defeated grassroots candidates to do the same.
Later, Peters said that the Douglas County clerk and recorder, Merlin Klotz, had promised her that he would demand a recount of the 2022 primary election results.
She also pointed to other accusations of election mismanagement which could be a basis for challenging the election results.
“You have to have standing to ask for a recount,” Peters expalined. “And so, as a candidate, Ron [Hanks] and I have standing. So our case will go to the Supreme Court. … The other candidates – there were 10 of them; I know there was [candidate for sheriff, John] Anderson in Douglas County and there were about 10 in El Paso County, and I’m sure there are others – they would file in the district where they are. So, those kinds of things need to be done. We want to do a proper recount. … You know, of course, in Senate Bill 22-153, [Griswold] put in that language which is unconstitutional, that she can override the canvass boards. And she did that on purpose, just like she did [with] there cannot be any audits, and just like she said there can’t be any images made. … I think there is a good case that she has violated HAVA. She shouldn’t have been using these machines, especially after CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) came out with their report identifying that there were problems. There was – after – okay, so, when that debacle with Bo Ortiz down in Pueblo County, I don’t know if they did another logic and accuracy test which is required if they changed anything on the ballot. Because when you change something on the ballot and you don’t check to make sure it’s being – because any oval, any movement of anything on that ballot, once it’s programmed in the computer it won’t read the ballots. So, if they didn’t do any of that that and do a logic and accuracy test, those should be thrown out. So, there’s a lot of things to consider.”
Peters and Hanks subsequently missed the deadline to submit a payment to cover the estimated cost of their recounts as required by state law, stalling that effort by the two grassroots GOP challengers.
Peters finished her comments on the call by recruiting people for election worker positions that might be favorable to her candidacy and her plight.
“Well, did you see what I put in there about Boulder is hiring an elections worker? So, that might be an idea if anybody wants to go to work in the elections department there. Yeah, the buzzword there is you’ve got to be – when you’re getting interviewed – that you’re ‘very impartial.’ Don’t give your opinion about anything political. Just get in there so you can keep an eye on things.”
Previously, Cage’s grassroots activist faction of Colorado conservatives had deemed open primaries to be unconstitutional and worried that fundamentalist grassroots Republican candidates could not win the party’s nomination if unaffiliated voters — who likely prefer more moderate Republican candidates to vie against Democratic candidates in the general election — were allowed to participate in the primary election.
The opt-out organizational effort failed in a vote by the Colorado GOP state central committee last September.
A subsequent lawsuit to challenge Colorado’s open primary statute, organized by the same group of activists, supported unanimously by GOP leadership, and represented by Trump attorney and alleged-Jan. 6 conspirator John Eastman, was dismissed by a federal court in April for lack of standing, when the state chairwoman, Kristi Burton Brown, refused to sign on as a plaintiff.